SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OCI-201
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- Subject Officer name(s);
- Witness Officer name(s);
- Civilian Witness name(s);
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into an injury a 43-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn August 17, 2020, the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury.
WRPS reported that on August 16, 2020, at about 8:38 p.m., the Complainant was arrested near The Bridges shelter located at 26 Simcoe Street, Cambridge, in relation to an assault on two females which had occurred the previous day. The Complainant struggled with police officers and was taken to the ground. He later complained of pain to his shoulder and was taken to the Grand River Hospital (GRH) where he was diagnosed as having suffered a fractured clavicle. He was treated and released back into the custody of police.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Complainant:43-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
Witness Officers (WO)WO #1 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
Subject Officer (SO)SO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
The SceneThe Complainant was arrested by a wooded area near The Bridges shelter in Cambridge.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU canvassed the area for any video or audio recordings, and photographic evidence, and was able to locate the following source:
- Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) footage from a location on Market Street.
CCTV Footage from a Location on Market StreetVideo 1
At about 8:37:08 p.m., a marked SUV police cruiser can be seen on Market Street driving slowly past the entrance to The Bridges shelter. There was enough daylight that no artificial lighting was needed. The police cruiser [later determined to be occupied by WO #1 and the SO] stopped momentarily, and then turned a slight bend in the road on Market Street and stopped at about 8:37:23 p.m. Both police officers exited. Across from the area where they stopped was a hill comprised of dirt and brush. It was outside the fence of the shelter. The police officers went to the hill and were then out of sight of the camera. They reappeared with a man believed to be the Complainant at about 8:39:56 p.m. The Complainant was searched and placed in the police cruiser.
The police cruiser stopped on Market Street at about 8:37:23 p.m., across from the dirt and brush hill outside the shelter’s fence. Two police officers could be seen exiting the police cruiser and walking towards the hill at about 8:37:38 p.m. At about 8:38:50 p.m., the Complainant was stood up from a sitting position and placed in handcuffs behind his back. At about 8:39 p.m., the Complainant was being escorted to the police cruiser and there was a commotion. The Complainant was pushed to the ground. No further force was used to ground him.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the WRPS:
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #2;
- WRPS Use of Force Procedure;
- WRPS Arrest and Release Procedure;
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Details; and
- General Occurrence.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from non-police sources:
- Medical Records from GRH; and
- CCTV footage from a location on Market Street.
In the evening of August 16, 2020, the SO and WO #1 made their way in a police vehicle to the shelter located at 26 Simcoe Street, known as The Bridges. They were there looking to arrest the Complainant on the strength of information they had received from another officer indicating that the Complainant had assaulted two young females outside the shelter the day before.
Arriving in the area shortly after 8:30 p.m., the SO and WO #1 observed the Complainant sitting on a dirt hill adjacent to the shelter property on its southeast side. They exited their cruiser, approached the Complainant on foot and advised him he was under arrest. The Complainant placed his arms behind his back and was handcuffed by the officers without incident.
As the officers began to escort the Complainant down the hill, he lunged forward trying to break free of the SO’s grasp, who had a grasp of his right arm. The SO pulled back, maintained his hold of the Complainant and took him to the ground. The Complainant was cautioned not to attempt that again, raised to his feet and brought down to the police cruiser at the foot of the hill.
The SO and WO #1 transported the Complainant to the central station in their cruiser. While waiting to enter the sally port, the Complainant began to complain of pain in his right shoulder.
Following a stint in cells, the Complainant was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured right clavicle.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(a) as a private person,(b) as a peace officer or public officer,(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or(d) by virtue of his office,
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were authorized or required to do by law. Based on the information at the officers’ disposal, I am unable to reasonably conclude that they lacked the necessary grounds to arrest the Complainant for the assaults he had allegedly perpetrated on two persons the day before.
I am similarly not persuaded that the force used by the SO – a takedown – was excessive. It should be noted that both parties were in a precarious position at the time standing on the downslope of a dirt hill. In the circumstances, when the Complainant attempted to break free of the officer’s hold, the SO was entitled to resort to a measure of force to quickly and decisively maintain custody of the Complainant. On this record, a takedown seems to have been a tactic reasonably available to the officer. Indeed, had the SO not managed to keep his grip, it is very possible that the Complainant could have propelled himself forward in a dangerous fashion. Thereafter, the Complainant was quickly deterred and raised to his feet without any further use of force.
In the result, while I accept that the SO’s takedown fractured the Complainant’s clavicle as he impacted the ground, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officer comported himself within the limits of the criminal law throughout their encounter. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: January 25, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.